Snapping hip syndrome: systematic review of surgical treatment


The snapping hip (SH) syndrome is characterised by an audible snapping, often accompanied by pain, which usually occurs with the flexion and extension of the hip during exercise or ordinary daily activities.

The causes of SH can be classified as external, internal and intraarticular. The prevalence of asymptomatic SH in the population is unknown and the incidence of symptomatic cases is not well-defined. The painless snapping in the hip is common in the general population; the symptomatic SH with debilitating pain and weakness is often seen in those who take part in activities such as ballet and running hurdles.

The clinician’s goal is to determine the cause and treat patients who have symptomatic SH so that they may return to their activities or to athletic peak performance.

Most patients with SH can be treated conservatively. However, surgery may be indicated if the condition becomes chronically symptomatic. Arthroscopy may prove useful in the treatment of intraarticular lesions that are causing discomfort. Various techniques have been described with different grades of success. The aim is to achieve the least invasive procedure with the lowest potential complications that corrects the painful snapping, according to the patient’s characteristics.

The purpose of this systematic review is to clarify the results of the surgical treatment of SH, after the failure of the conservative treatment.

Hip Int 2017; 27(2): 111 - 121

Article Type: REVIEW



Gabriele Potalivo, Walter Bugiantella

Article History


Financial support: None.
Conflict of interest: None.

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  • Orthopaedic and Traumatology Department, “San Matteo degli Infermi” Hospital, Spoleto - Italy
  • Emergency Department, “San Matteo degli Infermi” Hospital, Spoleto - Italy
  • PhD School of Biotechnologies, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia - Italy

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